Blackmagic Design has announced that DP Judd Overton is using a Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K EF to shoot the Australian television show “No Activity” created by production company Jungle for the Stan streaming network. Overton has served as the show’s DP for both seasons and previously used the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K for select rig shots on season one.
“No Activity” is a comedy that follows a team of police detectives and dispatch officers as they investigate crime. Written and directed by Trent O’Donnell (“Review with Myles Barlow,” “New Girl”), “No Activity” is a Stan Original series that recently debuted its second season. Starring Patrick Brammall and Darren Gilshenan as detectives Hendy and Stokes, season two introduces several new characters including affluent businessman Bernie (Damon Herriman) and his wife Elizabeth (Rose Byrne) whose kidnapping sets the course for the show’s season.
“Going into season two, I was really excited to add an URSA Mini 4.6K to our shooting package. The show is shot at a very quick pace with a lot of improvisational humour. We needed a compact camera that was easy to use and could easily fit into our workflow,” said Overton.
“With the URSA Mini 4.6K, we were able to take it straight out of the box and get shooting with no lag time or learning curve, which was really important for our fast paced schedule,” continued Overton. “Its usability was impressive but it’s already gotten better with the Camera 4.0 update. The new menu system and interface is very user friendly and all at a touch rather than pages of sub menus. Overall, the camera’s versatility and usability have really helped save the schedule many times.”
Heading into the second season, Overton and his team needed to not only match but also enhance the show’s look that they had expertly defined in season one.
“While ‘No Activity’ is a comedy, it very much has a drama look with its darker tones. We use high contrast with dark shadows to amplify the show’s feel, which can be much more dark and dry than most comedies. The URSA Mini 4.6K’s dynamic range captured that look perfectly,” explained Overton.
“A lot of the show is cross shooting, playing off two actors that are conversing with each other. For this season, we had one particular scene that was brilliant with Byrne and Herriman tied up facing each other in a basement. They are both hilarious and once they get riffing you don’t want to have to start and stop the scene.
“We knew we’d want closeups, so we mounted the URSA Mini 4.6K to shoot Byrne for one take and then Herriman for the second. We only ever get two takes but we were able to capture exactly what we needed with the camera. Its reliability is crucial with the show’s improvisational nature because we can’t miss a shot or we risk missing comedy gold. The URSA Mini 4.6K is the camera I use when I really need to get that shot,” concluded Overton.